In an attempt to win ‘Most Ridiculous Article Title 2016’, we bring together mens fashion, no more heroes and the death of a salesman. What the hell are these idiots on about now, and what does men’s fashion have to do with songs by the Stranglers and plays by Arthur Miller? Let’s break it down.
One might imagine that men’s fashion being all about creativity, would be a fascinating melting pot of individualistic one off characters, forever glancing sideways at the modern world. Visually, this may be true. On a recent visit to that sickest and dopest of trade shows, No Jacket Required, man, (up Brick Lane in commuter jeans on your new fixie) one went straight to the Narnia wardrobe, and proceeded to dress up like a total bell end. A glance in the bedroom mirror confirmed that the circus was in town, and off we went.
On entering the show however, the sound of pompous wind whistling from our balloons was immediately audible, as on checking the room we looked in comparison, like accountants. Most residents of this three day fashion asylum looked more like art installations than actual people. Our favourite was a lovely lad, with turn ups reaching up to his danglers, and a 30 storey high rise hat – in fur. A small bespectacled face peered out from betwixt the ensemble, and he smiled, while balancing a small bear on his head.
Now we love this about men’s fashion. In a drab, cardboard, two dimensional world, the more textile based madness the better in our book. As we wander about however, does the character match the cloth, or is it the case that there are…
No more heroes.
It’s easy to get nostalgic about mens fashion, old skool, back in the day, ‘Come on son, know your history’. It’s easy to reminisce about the heroes, and it’s worth remembering that wrongly perhaps, many a fashion shenanigan was chemically fuelled. By three o’clock on day one of trade shows like 40 Degrees, way back when, the night sheets would cloak the stands for a brief moment. What followed was an enormous collective sniff that reverberated about the hall, and over Earls Court we imagined, hung a large exclamation mark.
Such carry on can no longer be condoned, but none the less, the place was awash with characters. Their names should perhaps remain lost in the annals of the fashion almanac: the female brand owner who perpetually asked incredibly detailed sexual questions; the chap whose models didn’t show up so he recruited six prostitutes from Victoria bus station; the greyhound being delivered to Sunglasses Henry that got lost in the car park; the letting down of tyres, the penguin in the club toilets, the three nippled head of European sales, and of course, the case of the missing banana off the drag queen’s hat. What commercial relevance does any of this have, and who cares about that time we sold a pair of curtains that were rescued from the Windsor Castle fire? Well there may be some relevance to the world of mens fashion, because without the characters, without the heroes, are we looking at…
The death of a salesman?
Dressing like we’ve just emerged from the Blue Peter craft cupboard is all well and marvellous, but if the character behind all the character doesn’t match up, is it the death of a salesman, do we want to buy anything from him, or indeed her? If he was still alive bless him, we would all benefit from a sales course at the genius feet of Harry Harris from Berwick Street. He once convinced me to buy a consignment of five hundred multi coloured desert boots, in a total victory of personality over product. By the time he’d restyled my hair with a pocket comb while singing show tunes, squirted me with the Indian Limes aftershave he carried in his man bag, and read my horoscope, I was going to buy anything he had. The multi coloured boots took a while to shift, but thanks to support of local Lesbian students, we got there in the end.